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Why Healthy Young People Need the COVID Vaccine

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Do Healthy Young People Need the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Yes. If your teen or child is healthy but has not had their COVID vaccine, don’t wait.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and older. A booster dose is also strongly encouraged for ages 12 and up who got two doses of the mRNA COVID vaccine at least five months ago.

More than 60% of kids ages 12-17 and at least 25% of kids ages 5-11 in the U.S. have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Younger children still are not eligible for the vaccine.

We can protect one another

The vaccine does more than prevent serious illness in healthy kids. When everyone is vaccinated, they are less likely to get very sick and need hospital care.

The highly contagious virus can be passed to a young child, then to a grandparent, who may be at higher risk of serious illness or death from a COVID-19 infection.

We can stay healthy

Many people think that side effects from a vaccine are not supposed to happen. In fact, side effects are expected. Vaccine-anticipated reactions are a good sign that the body is reacting to the vaccine and that it is working to develop immunity to the virus.

Children and teens are more at risk of serious side effects from the virus than from the vaccine. And we know that kids who get COVID can have long-COVID illness and other ongoing problems.

Trust your pediatrician

The vaccines are safe, and they are the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Your pediatrician can answer all your questions about the vaccine and the virus that causes COVID. Your pediatrician knows your child and family and will provide facts about the vaccine for children.

CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population

From the CDC:

Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.

Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.  For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.

Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%. COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

The following is attributable to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 (ISOLATE)

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Stay home for 5 days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
  • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.

If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.IF YOU WERE EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH COVID-19 (QUARANTINE)

If you:

Have been boosted
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months
Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Test on day 5, if possible.

If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

If you:

Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted
Completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted
Are unvaccinated

  • Stay home for 5 days. After that continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • If you can’t quarantine you must wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Test on day 5 if possible.

If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

To read the full article click here.

8 Parenting Goals to Start the New Year

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Helping to make your family safer, stronger and more harmonious may not require a complete overhaul, but rather a few strategic tweaks.

Here are some concrete and tangible parenting goals you can set for the year ahead. (Kids can ​have fun setting goals, too! See Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children and Teens.)

  1. Get everyone vaccinated against COVID & flu. COVID vaccines and flu shots are the best way to protect yourself, your children, and other loved ones from these dangerous viruses circulating together. You can even get COVID and flu vaccines at the same time. Call your pediatrician to make sure your children are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations, and ask any questions you may have. And remind your kids that good hand hygiene habits will help prevent the spread of germs.
  2. Do good digital. What are your kids watching on TV and online? Devote some time to researching age-appropriate media. Make a family media use plan, and try to prevent gaming from becoming an unhealthy habit. Remember that screen time shouldn’t always be alone time. Watch a show together. Play a video game together. Understand what they are doing and be a part of it.
  3. Read together. Set aside some time for reading each day. For younger kids, an easy way is to build it into your child’s bedtime routine. For older children and teens, share a favorite book by taking turns reading aloud or listen to audiobooks together. Reading has so many brain-boosting benefits for kids. Reading together also strengthens that special bond between you and your child.
  4. Get outside more. Spending time outdoors can be a great mood booster, and help families get needed physical activity and vitamin D while enjoying time in nature. Spending time outside also give your child’s eyes a healthy screen-time break.
  5. Keep kids riding rear-facing as long as possible, up to the limits of their car seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 and most children up to age 4. If you are past the car-seat stage of parenting, congrats! If you’re still in the thick of it, check for any new car seat laws that may be going into effect in your state in the new year. Remind anyone who transports your child by car.
  6. Set aside time to cook as a family. Many families enjoy baking treats together during the holidays. Keep the fun going in the new year. Set aside special times to cook together as a family. If your child is a picky eater, this can get them more interested in trying new, healthy foods.
  7. Make a family disaster kit. It’s scary to think how disasters like wildfires, hurricanes or tornados could affect or communities. Being ready is one way to be less afraid. With your children, assemble basic supplies you will need if a disaster strikes. Read here for some useful items to pack.
  8. Practice some self-careWhen was the last time you had a check-up? Go proper rest? Once a baby is no longer a part of your body, it’s easy to forget that tight association between how you care for yourself and how you care for your child’s health. We also know depression and anxiety can happen to both moms and dads during and after pregnancy. If this is you, you are not alone. Help is near.

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children & Teens

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The start of a new year is a great time to help your children focus on forming good habits. Making New Year’s resolutions can be a fun way to do this!

As a pediatrician and mom of three kids, I know how important it is to set healthy goals with kids – and to be realistic about those goals. Kids also love having something to work toward. They can have fun keeping track on sticker charts or getting praise or rewards as they reach these goals, depending on their age.

Making resolutions together

I encourage you to sit down with your kids and, together, pick maybe one or two goals they want to set as their New Year’s resolutions. If it’s too overwhelming to think of them as resolutions, then just talk about them as goals and make it fun.

Keep it fun

If your 8-year-old meets that goal of reading every day for a week, maybe they get to pick the family movie during the weekend. Maybe your preschooler can eat more vegetables by drinking them in smoothies​ that the whole family enjoys. Involving kids in the decision-making and making these fun for the entire family can help turn these resolutions into long-lasting habits.

Here are some healthy and positive goal-setting resolution ideas you can suggest to your children, depending on their age:

New Year’s resolution ideas for preschoolers

  • I will try hard to clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.
  • I will let my parents help me brush my teeth twice a day.
  • I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I will try new foods when I can, especially all different colors of vegetables.
  • I will learn how to help clear the table when I am done eating.
  • I will be friendly to all animals. I will learn how to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.
  • I will always hold a grown-up’s hand whenever I cross the street.
  • I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
  • I will talk with my parent or another adult I trust when I need help or am scared.

New Year’s resolution ideas for kids (5 to 12 years old)

  • I will drink water every day and healthy beverages like milk wiht meals. I will keep soda and fruit drinks only for special times.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I will try to find a physical activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) or a sport I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses when possible.
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
  • I’ll try to be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by talking with them and inviting them to join activities.
  • I will tell an adult about bullying that I see or hear about to do what I can to help keep school safe for everyone.
  • I will keep my personal info safe and not share my name, home address, school name or telephone number online. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer or phone without asking my parent if it is okay.
  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
  • I promise that I’ll do my best to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will try to save time to read for fun.

New Year’s resolution ideas for teens (13 years old and older)

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day. I will drink sodas or fruit drinks only at special times.
  • I will do my best to take care of my body through fun physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • When I have some down time for media, I will try to choose educational, high-quality non-violent TV shows and video games that I enjoy. I will spend only one to two hours each day—at the most— on these activities. I promise to respect out household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will try to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep that my body needs each night.
  • I will do what I can to help out in my community. I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others that help people in need. These activities will make me feel better about myself and my community.
  • When I feel angry stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will look for a trusted adult so that we can attempt to find a way to help.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date. I will treat the other person with respect and not force them to do something they do not want to do. I will not use violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try drugs, alcohol or smoking or vaping.
  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.


Talk with your child’s pediatrician about other important habits that can help ensure a happy, healthy and safe new year.

Minding Your Child’s Mental Health

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The ongoing stress, fear, grief, and uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on children and teens. Many are having a tough time coping emotionally.

More than 140,000 children in the United States have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver from COVID, for example. Children of racial and ethnic minority families have been hit especially hard. Research shows they’ve had up to 4.5 times the risk of losing a caregiver to COVID, compared to other kids.

Many families have also lost jobs and had vital supports such as school, health care services, and other community programs interrupted. And many have experienced or witnessed a rise in racism and xenophobia during the pandemic, particularly toward families of Asian descent.

A rise in mental health emergencies

Since the start of the pandemic, hospitals have seen more mental health emergencies among kids. Between March and October 2020, the percentage of emergency department visits for children with mental health emergencies rose by 24% for children ages 5-11 and 31% for children ages 12-17. There was also a more than 50% increase in suspected suicide attempt emergency department visits among girls ages 12-17 in early 2021 as compared to the same period in 2019.

Even with the protection of the COVID-19 vaccines now available to children who are old enough for them, pandemic-related stress and traumas may have lasting effects on the developing minds of children and teens. Continue to check in with your child often and watch and listen for signs they are struggling. And remember that your pediatrician is here to help.

How is your child coping?

Invite your child to talk about how they are feeling. Feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious, and angry could be normal reactions to stress. However, if these feelings are constant and overwhelming–or if they affect your child’s ability to keep doing what they usually do, such as going to school, doing their work, or having fun–these may be signs they need more support during this difficult time.

Keep in mind that younger children may not know how to talk about these feelings, but may show changes in their development or behavior. Teens and young adults, meanwhile, may try to hide their feelings because they don’t want to bother others.

Recognizing signs of stress in your child

Signs of stress and mental health challenges are not the same for every child or teen, but there are some common symptoms.

Infants, toddlers and young children…

may show backward progress in skills and developmental milestones. They may also have increased problems with:

  • fussiness and irritability, startling and crying more easily, and be more difficult to console.
  • trouble falling asleep and waking up more during the night.
  • feeding issues such as nausea and vomiting, constipation or loose stools, or new complaints of stomach pain.
  • being anxious when they have to separate from their family, clinginess, not wanting to socialize, and fear of going outside.
  • hitting, frustration, biting, and more frequent or intense tantrums.
  • bedwetting after they’re potty trained.
  • aggressive behavior.

Older children and adolescents…

may show signs of distress with symptoms such as:

  • changes in mood that are not usual for your child, such as ongoing irritability, feelings of hopelessness or rage, and frequent conflicts with friends and family.
  • changes in behavior, such as stepping back from personal relationships. For example, if your outgoing teen stops spending time or texting or video chatting with friends, this may be cause for concern.
  • loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. Did your music-loving child suddenly stop wanting to practice guitar, for example? Did your aspiring chef lose all interest in cooking and baking?
  • a hard time falling or staying asleep, or starting to sleep all the time.
  • changes in appetite, weight or eating patterns, such as never being hungry or eating all the time.
  • problems with memory, thinking, or concentration.
  • less interest in schoolwork and drop in academic effort.
  • changes in appearance, such as lack of basic personal hygiene.
  • an increase in risky or reckless behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol.
  • thoughts about death or suicide, or talking about it (see “A word about suicide risk,” below.

How your pediatrician can help

Staying in touch with your pediatrician is more important than ever during this pandemic. If you have any concerns, ask your pediatrician’s office about checking on your child’s social and emotional health. This can be especially important for children facing higher rates of illness or risk from COVID-19, such as children of color, those living in poverty, special health care needs or developmental differences. Children who are refugees and those involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems​ may also be more at risk.

Pediatricians can screen for depression and ask about other concerns like anxiety or trouble coping with stress. The doctor may also ask about these symptoms in other family members, as this can impact your child’s health, and whether they know anyone who has become sick with COVID-19. It’s important to offer your teen some time to talk one-on-one with the pediatrician during the visit to ensure they have the chance to speak as openly as possible. Many pediatricians are also offering telehealth visits during the pandemic.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19

Children, adolescents, and families who experienced the loss of a loved family member or friend to COVID-19 are at increased risk for mental health challenges and may need special attention and professional counseling to manage their loss and grief.

Supporting your child

Your pediatrician can give you guidance on ways to best support your child and help them build resilience. Always check in with your child, ask them how they are feeling, and remind them you are there to talk if they want to, when they are ready. Some children or adolescents may need more time and space to express their feelings. Some may do better with gradual conversations and other activities besides talking, such as painting or drawing to express themselves and manage stress. Others might be more comfortable with direct conversations or activities.

A word about suicide risk

Rates of suicide for both adolescents and adults increase during times of high stress. In addition to screening for depression, your pediatrician can screen for suicide risk.

Remember, not everyone who considers suicide will talk about it, and not everyone who talks about suicide will act on their words. However, any talk about suicide should be taken seriously. If you are worried about your child, it is critical to make your home safe by removing weapons and ammunition from the house and securing medications in a locked cabinet.

Seek help immediately by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or texting the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘TALK’ to 741741. Reserve 911 for situations where self-harming actions are happening or are about to happen. In a non-crisis situation, talk with your pediatrician about any concerns you have about your child’s mental health.

Self-care and setting the tone

Parents set the tone in the household. Expressing extreme doom or fear can affect your children. It can be challenging to stay positive, especially if you’re struggling with your own stress. But try to relay consistent messages that a brighter future​ lies ahead. It helps to set aside time to take care of yourself when possible, and seek the support you may need for your own mental health. Practicing mindfulness, focusing on the present moment, yoga or stretching can help the entire family build coping skills. Build in down time for the whole family to connect and relax, enjoying a nap, movie time or simply spending time together.


Keep lines of communication open between you and your child, and don’t hesitate to talk with your pediatrician about ways to help maintain your family’s mental health during this difficult time.

Holiday Gatherings: Tips to Protect Kids Too Young for COVID Vaccines

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

For many families, the holidays are about getting together with relatives and friends. As COVID-19 surges again with new variants, chil​dren younger than 5 years old are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Even though children ages 5-11 years can get vaccinated against COVID, it takes two weeks after the second dose to be fully protected.

Everyone can play a role in protecting those at higher risk of severe illness as we gather together this holiday season. If you’ll be celebrating with unvaccinated children and other higher-risk loved ones, keep these tips in mind to help minimize exposure to COVID-19.

Getting together for the holidays safely

Celebrate with fully vaccinated family and friends. Limiting gatherings to fully vaccinated guests is the best way to protect young children who are not yet vaccinated, or individuals who have weakened immune systems. Encourage loved ones who are eligible to get fully vaccinated before gatherings. Encourage everyone 16 and older to get booster shots. For loved ones who are not vaccinated, consider joining by video chat for traditions such as cooking a favorite dish, opening gifts, or sharing words of gratitude before the meal.

Urge guests to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19. They should get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Do not host or attend any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household has been:

  • diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still at risk of spreading it to others
  • has had any symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of the gathering
  • is waiting for viral test results; or has a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days

Consider using COVID-19 at-home self-tests before gatherings of families from different households. You can use these tests, available over-the-counter, regardless of vaccination status or whether or not you have symptoms. Self-tests should be done no more than a day before the gathering. Anyone with a positive self-test should avoid get-togethers to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.

For families with vaccinated and unvaccinated members, the safest way to prevent the spread of highly contagious COVID-19 variants is to wear masks at all indoor gatherings with others.

Additional ways to reduce risk:

  • Keep the gathering small and short. Keep your guest list as small as possible and reduce the amount of time you would usually visit.
  • Open windows and celebrate outside when possible. Open windows for better ventilation. If weather permits, gather outdoors.
  • Consider an outdoor treat exchange. Another way to share the holiday spirit is to prepare traditional recipes for family and neighbors. Enjoy the treats outdoors with some hot cocoa or cider.
  • Keep it clean. Remind children to wash hands often, and keep hand sanitizer within reach.

What about holiday shopping?

Wear masks while shopping indoors, especially in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates. Avoid bringing children under 2 years old with you during holiday shopping trips, since they are too young to wear masks, or go when stores are not as busy.

Can we travel for the holidays?

Public health experts are still discouraging people who are not fully vaccinated from traveling for holiday gatherings. Families who must travel and have children who are not fully vaccinated should choose the safest travel options for their group.

If your child is too young for the vaccine, you may want to travel by car with members of your household who are vaccinated in a private vehicle, if possible. Wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops. If you must travel by air, be careful around large groups clustered at security lines and concourses, wear masks in airports and on planes, and hang back until lines have thinned.


Stay safe this holiday season and your family will be even more grateful for your traditions in the years to come.

Toy Buying Tips For Babies & Young Children

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Kids will be always kids, but their toys have changed―and it can be overwhelming!

We are inundated with all kinds of sensory-stimulating noise and light toys, and digital media-based platforms with child-oriented software and apps.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report, Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era, offers guidance that can help you navigate the shopping aisles. The best toys are those that match your child’s developmental skills and abilities and encourage the development of new skills.

Get back to basics: traditional toy categories

  • Symbolic/pretend – Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.
  • Fine-motor/adaptive/manipulative – Children can learn problem solving skills with the “traditional favorites” (like blocks, shapes, puzzles, and trains). These types of toys support fine motor skills and can improve language and brain development. Some of these toys also build early math skills, as well.
  • Art – High quality does not mean expensive. Things as simple as cardboard boxes or pads of paper still make little ones happy. Coloring books, crayons, markers, clay, stickers all make great gifts, build creativity, and help improve fine motor skills.
  • Language/concepts – Many traditional toys are now available in electronic versions, while new toys often are built to substitute for human interaction. For example, a toy bear that reads a story aloud or a board game that is now available as an app with virtual players. But actual human interactions are essential for a child’s growth and development. Digital toys should never take the place of real, face-to-face play. Traditional card games and board games (not the video game or app versions) and even toy letters and books create opportunities for you and your child to interact and have fun together.
  • Gross motor/physical – Toys that include physical activity (like playing with balls, push and pull toys, ride-on toys, and tricycles) help physical development and can improve self-regulation and peer-interaction because of the negotiations around rules that typically take place when kids play together.

Toy shopping reminders

  • Use caution when you see “educational” on the label. The truth is most tablets, computer games, and apps advertised as “educational” really aren’t. Most “educational” apps target memory skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children really need to learn for success in school (and life) include impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking. These are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends. Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real-life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.
  • Be aware of the potential for toys to promote race or gender-based stereotypes. Just as toys have changed over time, so have our expectations of “what girls do” and “what boys do.” All children need the opportunity to explore different gender roles and different styles of play. Offer children’s books or puzzles showing men and women in non-stereotypical and diverse gender roles (like stay-at-home dads, working moms, male nurses, and female police officers). Have a wide range of toys for your child to choose from―including baby dolls, toy vehicles, action figures, and blocks. See Gender Identity Development in Children.
  • Limit video game and computer game use. Total screen time, including television and computer use, should be less than 1 hour per day for children 2 years or older and avoided for those younger than 2 years of age. Children younger than 5 years should only be allowed to play with developmentally appropriate computer or video games, ideally together with a parent or caregiver. See Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
Toy safety considerations
Government regulations, improved safety standards for the manufacture and use of toys, and product testing have made most toys safe when used appropriately for the recommended ages and stages of development. However, unsafe toys can still be found.In determining toy safety, the features of the toy should be considered as well as how the toy might be used or abused, and the amount of supervision or help needed for safe play. Avoid toys with button batteries or high-powered allows anyone to report toy safety provides information about toy safety recalls.


A certain toy is not necessary for your child to reach his or her next developmental milestone. There is no one app that will teach your child to read. While it’s easy to fall victim to the marketing, you are your child’s best teacher.

Pediatric Vaccines: Top 8 Parental Concerns Answered

For 5-11 year old, starting November 6th, a COVID-19 vaccine will be authorized for emergency use. The vaccine is a 2-dose series taken 3 weeks apart. Each is 1/3 the dosage of the adolescent/adult vaccine. For 12-17 year olds, a vaccine is already authorized and more than 11.1 million adolescents have been vaccinated. This vaccine is a 2-dose series taken 3 weeks apart.

  1. The Vaccine is Effective
  • 90-100% efficacy in clinical trials
  • No severe cases of COVID-19 during clinical trials
  • Vaccines work against Delta and other known variants of concerns

2. Your Child May Experience Side Effects

  • Mostly mild-to-moderate side effects are reported: fever, fatigue, headaches, chills, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain
  • More kids report side effects with the 2nd dose compared to the 1st dose
  • Rare side effects include swollen lymph nodes and skin sensitivity

3. Myocarditis is Rare

  • Myocarditis (heart inflammation) has been linked to mRNA vaccines. It is very rare. We expect 26 cases of myocarditis per 1 million doses administered. It’s more common for young males and more common for the 2nd dose.
  • Symptoms typically arise within 7 days of vaccination.
  • Majority of cases have been hospitalized. No kids have died. Cases fully recover within 34 days.
  • Vaccine-induced myocarditis is much milder compared to COVID-19-induced myocarditis.

4. There is a need.

COVID-19 in kids can range from asymptomatic to severe illness. As of October 2021, over 6.3 million COVID-19 pediatric cases have been reported. Only 43% of kids under 12 years old have natural immunity.

In 23 states, 24,073 pediatric hospitalizations have been reported

  • 30% of hospitalized had no underlying medical condition
  • Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are higher than for the flu
  • As of October 2021, 5,217 MIS-C cases have been linked to COVID-19

Over 600 pediatric deaths have been reported. Although this seems low compared o adults, COVID-19 is a top 10 cause of death for kids in the US.

5. The vaccine got to us fast – but it was NOT rushed.

Speed does not mean rushed. It meant leveraging a whole lot of people, money, and decades of previous work to get us a vaccine in 9 months. This included:

  • Previous research (mRNA research started in 1961; the first clinical trial was in 2001)
  • Lots of money and resources for scientists around the word
  • Production started before clinical trials were complete because the government financially supported the effort
  • Although vaccine went through Phase I, II, and III, phases were overlapped to remove white space. This is standard practice.
  • High rates of disease in the community (unfortunately) meant we didn’t have to wait for a minimum number of COVID-19 cases during clinical trials
  • Over 150,000 people flooded to participate in the US trials. This couldn’t have been done without each and everyone one of them.

6. mRNA does not change DNA

It’s biologically impossible for the messenger RNA (mRNA) to alter DNA.

  • mRNA cannot enter the cell nucleus where DNA lives.
  • mRNA can’t be converted to DNA.
  • mRNA can’t insert itself into DNA.

7. Long term side effects are highly unlikely

While, we do not know the long term effects of mRNA COVID19 vaccines, based on our knowledge of mRNA and the human body, we do not expect long term side effects:

  • Vaccine ingredients are cleared from the body very quickly. mRNA is very fragile and degrades within 72 hours of injection. Ingredients do not linger in the body.
  • mRNA vaccines are not made of the actual pathogen. This means that they don’t contain weakened, dead, or noninfectious parts of a virus.
  • In the history of vaccines, serious adverse side effects only occur within the first 2 months of rollout. We have more than 12 months of vaccine follow-up data by now.
  • Thousands of people have gotten pregnant after receiving the COVID-19 Vaccines.
  • There are reports that menstrual cycle changes after a COVID-19 Vaccine. The body is mounting an immune response and this is likely a temporary side effect, like a fever.

8. Previously recovered still need the vaccine.

  • Efficacy of “natural” immunity is high, but protection wanes for some
  • Getting a vaccine, even for people who have already recovered from COVID-19, strengthens your immune response (antibody and T-Cell production)
  • The immune response is messier from natural infection. Its not as focused as vaccine immunity, so evidence shows the vaccine better protects against variants of concern.

Source: YLE


What do you think of when you hear Diabetes? Most of the time, my patients tell me that it is a condition “of uncontrolled sugars in your blood” and then they list some jargon that is associated with the disease such as “fasting sugar, glucometer, and insulin”.  Yes, these are correct, but now with more research we are finding it easier to manage and control Diabetes. Another common question that I often get is, “Why are you so passionate about this topic?”. This topic is near and dear to me because my father suffered from Type II Diabetes. I have witnessed first hand the ups/downs of the condition and now make it my goal to bring awareness to patients of all ages about Diabetes. 

What is it? 

According to the CDC, Diabetes affects nearly “34.2 million people (nearly 10.5% of the US population)”. The foods you eat are broken down into simple sugars called glucose and then released into your bloodstream. The glucose in your bloodstream serves as energy for your bodily organs to function properly. A normal response when your glucose goes up is for your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin lowers your sugar by introducing the blood glucose into the body cells for energy storage. For diabetics, this system of checks and balances is dysfunctional because either the pancreas cells are attacked by your immune system (Type I Diabetes) or your body is not responding to the insulin made (Type II Diabetes). Due to this, your blood glucose remains severely elevated in your bloodstream. 

What are common symptoms of Diabetes? 

  • Urinate (pee) a lot, often at night
  • Are very thirsty
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Are very hungry
  • Have blurry vision
  • Have numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Feel very tired
  • Have very dry skin
  • Have sores that heal slowly
  • Have more infections than usual

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have questions about Diabetes, please book an appointment with your primary care physician. 

Dr. Hannah Do, M.D. 

Board Certified Family Medicine Physician



COVID-19 Guidance for Ages 5-11

The nation’s vaccine campaign will also expand in the coming weeks if the FDA greenlights Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children ages 5 to 11

We are staying informed and when the COVID-19 Vaccine is approved by the FDA for the ages of 5-11, we will have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for your child.

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